My gorgeous boy,

It’s been a year since I last wrote you a letter like this, and it’s hard to know where to begin in summing up how much you’ve learned and grown in that time.

mama finch arty 4th birthday card

You’ve developed a lot of practical skills, and can now put your shoes on without help, brush your own teeth, take yourself to the toilet and wash your hands, and (mostly) dress yourself. But far more impressive is how much you have grown in confidence this year. At the beginning of 2015, when you started kinder, you were hesitant and always hung back in group activities, preferring to watch and the other kids take the lead. As the year progressed you completely came out of your shell, and your teachers now report that you are always keen to try new things, and join in with everything from acting out plays, to doing science experiments. We are so proud of this growth in you, because we know it wasn’t easy, and it shows real strength of character. We are so happy that you get to experience life more bravely and fully with this newfound confidence.

Going to circus class played a big role in this growth. You loved learning to tumble, spin plates on sticks, jump on the trampoline, and swing from the trapeze. You gave a lot of things a go that you thought would be scary, and found that you were capable, and that it was fun. It made your Mummy and I just overflow with pride and love for you. You’ve expressed a very strong interest in doing ballet this year, and since you’re going to be going to kinder three days a week, you’ll be stopping circus to make room for ballet. I’m looking forward to seeing you continue to develop your physical control, coordination, and strength in this new discipline.

You are an epic chatterbox. And I mean would-talk-under-wet-cement levels of verbosity. You have to narrate pretty much any activity you undertake, and you love telling stories. You’ve got a pretty fantastic vocabulary for a kid your age, though you still mispronounce some words in a cute way – hostable (hospital), jemimas (pyjamas), ridiklius (ridiculous), aspegaliss (asparagus), etc. I hope you don’t grow out of that too quickly.

mama finch arty 4 letter 02

Music is one of the greatest joys in your life. You love to sing and dance, and put on concerts with your Mummy. This year you went to your first proper concerts: Darren Hanlon at the Northcote Social Club, and Taylor Swift at AAMI Park stadium. They were both very late nights, and you handled them amazingly. You sang along and danced your heart out. We’re starting to talk about what instrument you might like to learn to play, and so far you’re leaning towards piano, but we’ll see how that goes. You have an astonishing memory for lyrics, and can sing/rap along to more of the Hamilton soundtrack than any four year old should reasonably be expected to, which is pretty adorable to hear.

You have a very well developed sense of justice and propriety. Mummy calls you ‘Ink Monitor Smith-deGraaf’ because you’re always on top of the rules of any game or situation, and will call people out if they try to deviate from them. This is a real blessing to us as your parents because usually all we have to do is explain why it’s important that you behave a certain way, and you are happy to comply.

mama finch arty 4 letter 01

You’re a terrible liar, and you can’t keep a secret to save your life. As your Mama I’m actually quite pleased about the honest and open nature this signifies, though it does mean that trying to surprise anyone with a gift that you know about is pretty much impossible. You get too excited and spill the beans every time.

You’re a good sharer, a compassionate friend, and are very quick to offer a cuddle or a gentle pat when anyone you know is hurting. When your special friend Katie was very sick in hospital this year you were chief cheerer-upper and balloon supplier, and you fretted for her so sincerely until she was well again. Whenever your Mummy or I hurt ourselves you always run straight over to us and fling your arms around whatever part of us you reach first and cover us with kisses. It definitely helps.

mama finch arty 4 letter 03

And now, true to tradition, I’m going to list a few of your current favourite things:



Food and drink:

  • Bolognese
  • Porridge
  • Weet Bix
  • “Yellow cake” (passionfruit and poppy seed cake from our local cafe)
  • Flat eggs made by Mummy
  • Banana smoothies
  • Corn
  • Ravioli (or “pasta parcels”)
  • Sandwiches with cream cheese and jam
  • Elderflower juice
  • Baked beans
  • Pizza (margherita)
  • Grapes
  • Pretzels



  • My First Orchard (or, as you call it, “crow game”)
  • Memo Grizzly
  • Baa Baa
  • Pirate Snap
  • Imaginary games with Mummy (eg ‘the Avengers meet the pirates!’)
  • Puzzles
  • Art and craft with Mama
  • Cafes or shopkeepers
  • Birthday parties (i.e. throwing pretend birthday parties for your toys)



  • Hamilton (the Broadway musical soundtrack)
  • Jackie Oates (especially for sleeping)
  • Darren Hanlon
  • Taylor Swift
  • Hozier



  • Your frankly massive collection of soft toys
  • Matchbox cars and Hotwheels
  • Your iPad
  • Your dolls’ house
  • Duplo
  • Play Doh (especially your Play Doh truck)


TV shows and movies:

  • The Aristocats
  • Cars 1 & 2
  • Toy Story
  • Despicable Me (and it’s sequels)
  • Big Hero 6
  • Hey Duggee 
  • Play School
  • Rescue Bots
  • Super Why
  • Nature documentaries


mama finch arty 4 letter 04

You have an amazing laugh, a spectacularly fun cheeky streak, and a fabulous grin. You’re warm and affectionate, and tell us you love us at least eight times a day. I love being your Mama more than anything in the world, and I’m so excited to see what you do as a big four year old, so go for it, baby! I’ll be cheering from the wings, ever your proud and loving,

Mama xxx